Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has blamed the National Assembly for the deplorable state of federal roads in Benue State.
He said this on Friday when a delegation of retired military generals from Benue South Senatorial district (Zone C), led by Air Vice Marshal Monday Morgan (Rtd.) paid him a visit to intimate him on the terrible condition of the federal roads in Benue, particularly the Otukpo round about to Aliade Road; Loco-Oweto to Oju Road; Makurdi to Gboko Road; Makurdi to Aliade Road; Makurdi-Naka-Adoka Road, Aliade-Oju Road and the Katsina-Ala Bridge amongst others.
In his address, AVM Morgan said he was directed to lead this delegation by other senior Generals who have served the nation meritoriously and deserved to live their retirement in comfort.
He reiterated that the larger population of Benue people are predominantly farmers whose economical livelihoods have been decapacitated as they could no longer convey their agricultural produces through the roads to urban centres.
He also noted that due to the unmotorable state of the federal roads in the state, many lives were cut short from accident, and thousands of vehicles damaged beyond repairs.
Reacting, Fashola extended his respect to them, saluted their personalities and gave cognizance to their patriotic services to their Fatherland.
The minister said the inability of the National Assembly to approve exact budgets appropriated and tagged to roads construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance in Benue and other parts of the country is responsible for the situation.
“I know what to do, but am not the National Assembly that has to pass the appropriated budgets into law,” he said.
“Most times, the lawmakers are concerned about their constituency project funds as if another federal presence like Roads in their States is not important”.
The minister quoted 14 federal road contracts in Benue, particularly the Katsina-Ala Bridge, Otukpo (Enugu) roundabout – Aliade Road, Oweto -Loco Road are paramount on his table.
“Just two days ago, I directed the Federal Emergency Road Management Agency-FERMA to at least give a facelift to the Otukpo Round About Road to the General Hospital junction, as unbearable petitions are numerous on my table concerning those, but one thing is to give a directive, another is to mobilize resources of Machines and Manpower, and all these are dependent on the approval of funds,” the minister revealed.
He also advised the retired generals to also take their advocacy to the National Assembly and their governor to expedite actions on these roads.
- Other members of the delegation are AVM Tony Adokwu, AVM Steve Onuh, AVM Emma Anebi, Rear Adm Sylva Abbah, Maj Gen Patrick Ogah and Maj Gen Johnson Ochoga.
- Other present were Dr Egboja, Barr Ajene, Hon Olofu, Engr Dan Atayi, David Okopi, Rt. Comrade John Acha and Hon. Vincent Okoko Odo.